I’ve changed the name of the blog again. It’s now called “The Daily Moja” to reflect how I’ve been adding posts to the blog on a daily basis. I’m also planning to change the URL to www.dailymoja.com. I’m still in the process of sorting out the new site, so it doesn’t look quite ready yet.
Archive for the ‘Creative Writing’ Category
We had our fourth lesson today. I think there were about 14 students in today’s class.
We had to bring in quotes from experts. One of my friends is the UK’s number 1 expert on bats (well, I think she is), so I asked her some questions about bats (did you know that bats eat up to 3,000 insects a night?). I’m starting to like bats! 🙂
We had to put the quote into a story, and I had to go first. The teacher said she was impressed, and the class spent the next 5 minutes discussing how we could write a feature on bats. Maybe I could pitch the idea to Readers Digest.
Surprising magazine articles
We were each given magazines and we had to guess what kind of people read them. We then had to look through each magazine and find articles which we were not expecting inside them.
I found an article on paper. The writer started by asking the reader to look around them, and notice how much paper was being used (for coffee cups, shopping bags, train tickets, novels, posters etc).
Pitch your idea to many different editors
I found it in a magazine called Geographical, which is described on its website as being about “culture, wildlife, exploration and adventure”. If you can prove to an editor that your article has a connection with their magazine, it is possible for you to get it published in the magazine.
How to do interviews
We were given a handout on how to interview people. Two students did a role-play (one student played Vince Cable and the other student played the role of the interviewer). It was good. The teacher showed us how to make the interviewee feel comfortable, and how to tease valuable quotes out of them. We learnt a lot of things today, and I really enjoyed today’s class.
- Why You Need to Target Freelance Journalists with Your Press Releases (ereleases.com)
- The Orginal Aggregator Expands Its Offerings (adpulp.com)
- “So you want to go freelance…” – a beginners guide to freelancing (mocko.org.uk)
The BBC website is my favourite website. They cover a lot of things I like, including football, politics, technology and languages. I’ve now discovered that they also have a section which covers writing. I saw the BBC College of Journalism (CoJo) website two nights ago, and I spent a long time reading through it.
I first looked at a Writing Masterclass video presented by Allan Little. He works for the BBC as a special correspondent. The video was created for radio journalists, but a lot of the advice was useful for print journalists too. He said that journalists need to use short, clear words in their writing. I don’t think I do enough of this. I’m going to focus on keeping my sentences short and simple.
Read read read!
He also said that writers need to spend a lot of their time reading. We should read novels and poems, and make a note of the sentences that we like. I need to do more reading. I’ll try to read novels by respected writers like Ernest Hemingway, O. Henry, Virgina Woolf, George Orwell and Agatha Christie.
Writing do’s and don’ts
I also looked at the Writing section. It is divided into the following sections:
- Words – avoid superlatives, and watch out for troublesome words.
- Grammar – what’s the difference between an adjective and an adverb?
- Accuracy in Writing – readers hate spelling mistakes and inaccuracies.
- Writing Rules and Choices – don’t use cliches, jargon or ‘journalese’!
- English Course – test your use of capitals, apostrophes and punctuation.
- Numbers – “1 in every 200 people” is better than saying “12% of people”.
- Writing Tests – how good is your spelling? Mind your Cs and Qs!
More reading to do
I thought I had read everything in the above sections, but today I realised that I hadn’t. I had ignored many ‘boring’ sections to get to the ones which looked more fun and interesting. I want to learn as much as possible from this website, so I’m going to go back to the sections I that I’d ignored. I still have lots of reading to do.
I found these 12 tips for writers on Oon Yeoh’s blog. Oon Yeoh is an experienced Malaysian writer and I think his tips are very useful for budding writers like myself. I’m going to keep referring to them when I write articles in the future.
1. Love Writing
2. Love Reading
3. Find Role Models
4. Be a Specialist
5. Be Versatile
6. Be Your Own Harshest Critic
7. Be a Stickler for Accuracy
8. Be Smart with Numbers
9. Write Tightly
10. Add Color
11. Write the Way You Speak
12. Assume They Don’t Know & Don’t Care
Click here for the full article.
I recently bought a voice recorder and it arrived yesterday. It’s the Philips LFH0622 Voice Tracer; it stores voice recordings as mp3 files and it comes with a mini USB cable, so the files can be transferred on to a computer.
I did not buy it because I love the sound of my own voice – no way! 😀 I bought it because I am always thinking of ideas for articles and stories, and I sometimes think of the conversations my characters will have in a story. Unfortunately, the ideas seem to disappear from my head before I get a chance to write them down, or type them into a computer.
It might also come in handy for interviews that I may have to record in the future. Our journalism homework for this week is to record some quotes from subject experts. Maybe I’m slowly turning into an amateur journalist.
I will not be using it to record all my thoughts. Imagine if you spent a whole day recording every single thought you made! It could put you in a lot of trouble!
When I woke up this morning, I had a great idea for a story (well, I think it’s a great idea). 🙂 It’s to do with dreams (I’ve been thinking about dream-related stories for a while), and no, I most definitely have not been influenced by Inception! Anyway, I’m planning to write this story, but I will write it as a piece of flash fiction. Fiction fiction stories range from 300 to 1,000 words, so I’m hoping it won’t take me too long.
Blog editor: 300 – 1,000 words?? I think you’re just being lazy!
Moja: It’s harder than you think! Besides, I might expand it if I think of more things to add to the story.
I’m mentioning it now as a reminder to myself in case it slips my mind in the future. I guess I just love writing things down, no matter how insignificant. I can’t wait to see the result!